How Does My Oil Burner Work?

Written on: December 30, 2019

Understanding your oil burner

Like any mechanical device, oil heating systems require all components to work together. But some parts are more important than others. One component that is particularly vital to the efficient and effective operation of your heating oil system is the burner.

Heating oil will not combust in its liquid form. If you were to drop a lit match into a bucket of heating oil, it would go out like you dropped it into water. Your heating equipment’s burner has a process that makes it possible to unlock the heat generation of this fuel.

How Your Heating System’s Oil Burner Works

Here is a breakdown of the process your furnace or boiler’s burner uses to heat your home and keep you comfortable.

  1. Your thermostat alerts your heating equipment when the temperature drops too low.
  2. The fuel pump draws heating oil through a filter and into the burner.
  3. Your oil burner converts the oil into a fine spray. This spray mixes with air and ignites inside the combustion chamber. Liquid heating oil will not combust without this process.
  4. The combustion chamber heats up considerably. In furnaces, the heated air is absorbed into a heat exchanger, and the blower fan sends it through your ductwork and into your rooms. In boilers, water circulates the hot combustion chamber, and then either hot water or steam travels through your plumbing to radiators or baseboards.
  5. Either air or water returns to the heating equipment for recirculation. This cycle continues until your rooms are at the desired temperature.
  6. All combustion emissions vent outside through a flue.

How efficiently this is done depends on the design of the burner. Modern burners contain electronic pre-purge and post-purge controls to ensure ultra-clean starts and stops. New two-stage burners also have an efficiency level that’s 5–15% higher than older ones because they have been designed to conserve fuel.

Understanding combustion problems

If a burner seems to have combustion issues, it doesn’t always mean the burner is malfunctioning on its own. Sometimes, poor airflow around the system can be the culprit. Poor airflow can be caused by a variety of factors:

If you are having any issues with your burner operation, it’s always best to arrange for professional service.

Are you looking for a reliable heating oil supplier?

If you’re looking for affordable heating oil from a fuel supplier that offers fast and hassle-free deliveries, contact Lawman’s Oil today. Not only will you get high-quality, low-cost heating oil, you’ll also be helping the American Breast Cancer Foundation provide much needed support, education, and access to early detection to individuals in need. We donate 1¢ of every gallon you buy to the American Breast Cancer Foundation.